I arrived in NY last night. One bag went missing en route but nevertheless, it was a good 7 hour space to read what experts and journos had to say about the review of the MDGs next week, the world’s governments evaluating ‘the world’s biggest promise’.
The Lancet’s online publication, ‘The Millennium Development Goals: a cross sectoral analysis and principles for goal setting after 2015’ is worth reading, despite the long title, for a view of where we’ve come from – and where we might go. It’s a good reminder too that the MDGs are not an end in themselves – but a means to an end – an end which won’t be reached by 2015. It calls for greater synergy, in setting and delivering such goals, and stresses the importance of ‘equity’.
Interestingly, Madeleine Bunting had written in Tuesday’s Guardian, which I’d kept to read, that ‘equality is the one item nobody wants on the UN Agenda next week’, reflecting that ‘For all the progress on the millennium development goals, it seems countries are growing richer while leaving their poor behind.’ Two pages on Polly Toynbee, President of the British Humanist Association commented that “Repression of sex, banning contraception, gays, abortion, stem cell research and IVF treatment cause untold misery ….. while this Pope claims condoms ‘aggravate the problem of HIV”.
Today though, no time for reading, too much time spent searching for my missing bag, involving endless calls to non human answer phones – and time catching up on emails and phone calls. I have asked friends and colleagues what would be their ‘must have’ key message for the Health and Education Roundtable on Monday, which I’m fortunate enough to have been given an invitation – if indeed the 4 civil society reps get to speak at all.
Their answers? Invest in women; invest in young people; keep girls in school; family planning – meet the unmet need of 215 million women, for dramatic reductions in maternal deaths and illness, and improving health, well being, and sustainable development; involve civil society in decision making, and in reaching the poor, marginalised and vulnerable; integrate policies and programmes for reproductive health and HIV. Every one of these points important because individually and collectively, these issues are critical to human rights, to well being, to development – but now the question is: how to get them – together with the evidence – into a 3 minute statement?!
And tonight a small meeting of kiwis with some common interests, including Helen Clark, administrator of UNDP, and our former Prime Minister who this coming week will be one of the new Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health, and Patti O’Neill from the OECD, and a few more – we work in very different ways, but also from a shared history – part of which is that ours was the first country to give women the vote in 1893. And so tomorrow morning the real work of the week starts, with a Brunch for delegations, focussing on MDGs 5,4,6,2 and 3, led by Women Deliver, and the redoubtable Jill Sheffield, with IPPF and others as co-hosts – an opportunity to follow up the June WD conference and begin the week with a key message – Invest in Women – It Pays
And in the meantime, back to that 3 minute statement! Watch this space!